In response to Telegraph’s articles on sexual assault at university, a group of politicians, students and victim support groups are demanding changes.
Twenty people have signed a letter asking for clearer policies, including eight cross-party MPs and representatives of the National Union of Students and Rape Crisis.
The Telegraph’s reported that one in three women experience sexual assault at university and told the stories of students who were not given proper support when attacked by a fellow student. Read the full letter of demands below:
SIR – As the deadline for Ucas applications arrives, we are appalled at the poor level of support that many universities give to those students who are sexually assaulted.
A Telegraph survey (report, January 14) found that one in three female students have been sexually assaulted, while a home office report in January 2013 found that full time students have an increased risk of experiencing sexual violence compared to other women
But unlike employees, who are given clear protection from employers, many university students have no recourse other than the police when sexually assaulted by other students. Some universities refuse to investigate claims or discipline attackers, leaving students to study and live alongside their attackers. Many have poor counselling services, unclear policies on how the university will respond to sexual assault complaints, and no obvious member of staff who handles concerns about sexual assaults.
We are asking Universities UK to develop guidelines on how universities should respond to complaints of sexual assault. We’re calling on the Government to work with professionals in the sector to produce guidance on how universities should handle sexual assault. This would send a clear message to universities that sexual assault cannot be ignored, and must be addressed sensitively and thoroughly.
Toni Pearce, president of the National Union of Students
Katie Russell, spokeswoman for Rape Crisis
Sarah Green, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition
Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project
Dimitrina Petrova, chief executive of Equal Rights Trust
Mark Castle, chief executive of Victim Support
Claire Burke, founder of Respect Yourself
Professor Nicole Westmarland, Co-Director, Durham University Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse
Jeremy Todd, chief executive of Family Lives
Miranda Seymour-Smith, chief executive of The Fawcett Society
Michele Burman, professor of Criminology at University of Glasgow
Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North (Con)
Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for the City of Durham (Lab)
Seema Malhotra, MP for Feltham and Heston (Lab)
Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge (Lib Dem)
Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West (Lib Dem)
John Leech, MP for Manchester Withington (Lib Dem)
Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow (Lab)
Yvette Cooper, shadow Home Secretary, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Lab)